Premium midsize car; Built in Sweden
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $3,300 – $19,200*

2001 Volvo S60

2001 Volvo S60

2001 Volvo S60 interior

2001 Volvo S60

  • Available AWD
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Navigation-system controls
  • Rear visibility

Arguably the most stylish Volvo ever, the S60 is the best-handling Volvo sedan yet. Even so, compromises in rear-seat room, ride quality, and powertrain smoothness are hard to overlook in the hotly contested near-luxury class. The all-season 2.4T AWD is an asset to this line, but not enough to threaten the Acura TL and Lexus ES 300 for overall value.


Following the debut of redesigned V70 wagons in spring of 2000, Volvo’s midrange sedans got a comparable makeover. Now badged S60, the 2001 front drive near-luxury sedans replaced the S70 design that had originated in 1993 with the 850 series. The 2001 wagon lineup included all-wheel-drive models, but the new S60 was front-drive only. Both models shared the same three engines, basic structure, and many features.

Standard equipment included antilock four-wheel disc brakes, front side airbags, side-window curtain airbags, and Volvo’s anti-whiplash front-seat backrests and head restraints.

Three models went on sale, each with an inline five-cylinder engine. The base sedan held a 2.4-liter engine rated at 168 horsepower. A turbocharged 197-hp version of that engine went into the 2.4T. The performance-oriented T5 got a turbocharged 2.3-liter that cranked out 247 horsepower. Base and T5 sedans came with a five-speed manual gearbox or optional five-speed automatic transmission. Automatic was mandatory for the 2.4T and, except on the base model, included Volvo’s Geartronic manual-shifting feature.

Compared to the S70s that they replaced, the S60 sedans were 2 inches longer in wheelbase, but nearly 6 inches shorter overall, an inch taller, and almost 2 inches wider. Styling was visibly sleeker, similar to that of Volvo’s flagship S80 sedan. Trunk capacity shrunk by 1.2 cubic feet, but Volvo claimed slightly more interior space. Base models retained standard 15-inch wheels, while the T5 rode 17-inchers that were available for the 2.4T in lieu of 16s.

Two traction-control/antiskid systems were available. Stability Traction Control (STC) was standard on the T5 and optional on others. It throttled back power or braked the front wheels to maintain traction and minimize skidding. Available for the T5 and 2.4T was a more sophisticated Dynamic STC that added selective braking at all four wheels. Monitoring each wheel, it was designed to improve cornering stability in active driving.

Options included a sport suspension for the T5, a satellite-linked navigation system with pop-up dashboard screen, and Volvo’s On-Call Plus assistance system, which was similar to GM’s OnStar. Competitors for the S60 included the Acura TL, Audi A6, BMW 3-Series, Infiniti I30, and Lexus ES 300.

Yearly Updates

2002 S60
All-wheel drive became available for 2002. The new 2.4T AWD sedan apportioned power to the rear wheels when the front tires began to slip. An emergency in trunk release and rear cupholders were added this year.
2003 S60
All-wheel-drive models got a more powerful engine for 2003. A 208-horsepower turbo 2.5-liter replaced the previous 2.4-liter, which was rated at 197 hp. All models now had a standard CD/cassette player. Fog lamps and wood dashboard trim were newly standard in 2.4T and AWD models. Rain-sensing wipers joined the option list, as did an On-Call Plus assistance system.
2004 S60
A high-performance model highlighted the changes to Volvo’s midsize sedan for 2004. Called the S60 R, it had 300 horsepower, AWD, and a 6-speed manual transmission. Other changes for ’04 include the dismissal of the 197-hp 2.4T, new cabin decor, and the addition of Volvo’s On-Call assistance system.
2005 S60
Revised styling, optional run-flat tires, and wider availability of an adjustable suspension keynoted S60’s 2005 changes. New for ’05 were rear obstacle detection and real-wood interior trim. All S60s got revised nose and tail appearance, including LED taillamps, plus new seats and center console. No longer available was Volvo’s On-Call Plus assistance system.
2006 S60
There were no changes for the 2006 S60.
2007 S60
A subtle facelift marked Volvo’s 2007 midsize sedans. Traction/antiskid control was standard for 2007 on all S60s, not just the R. ABS, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags continued as standard equipment. Also for ’07, steering-linked bi-xenon headlamps were newly available on 2.5T and T5 models. All S60s had modest styling changes and revised interior trim for ’07. The 2.5s also got a firmer suspension than previously used.
2008 S60
The high-performance R model and manual transmission were discontinued for 2008. Leather upholstery and a sunroof, previously optional on the T5, were now standard on that model.
2009 S60
Features that made up 2008’s optional Premium Package–leather upholstery, automatic day/night rearview mirror, compass, and sunroof, among others–became standard for 2009, which proved to be the final model year for this design. A redesigned S60 appeared as a 2011 model.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

All S60 sedans used five-cylinder, dual-overhead-cam engines. Initially, base models held a 2.4-liter that produced 168 horsepower. A turbocharged version of that engine, rated at 197 hp, went into the 2.4T and AWD models. In ’03, a 2.5 liter engine that generated 208 hp replaced the 197-hp powerplant on AWD models and other 2.4Ts in 2004. A turbocharged 2.3-liter engine that whipped out 247 horsepower was installed in the the S60 T5. In 2004, Volvo added a high-performance R model with a 300 horsepower 2.5-liter. Manual transmission was standard across the board, but all models could have a five-speed automatic transmission.

dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 168
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/149
Engine HP 197
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 210
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 208
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic


Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/141
Engine HP 247
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 243
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Turbocharged dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/153
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic

Road Test

Solid and substantial, Volvo’s stylish sedans perform pleasantly. All S60s save the high-performance R hesitate somewhat off the line, but pick up speed impressively enough–especially the turbo models. With manual shift, a T5 accelerated to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. Sadly, manual-gearbox action feels crude. Turbo engines’ throttle lag leaves you short of power at times, and mild “torque-steer” wander occurs on front-drive models in hard takeoffs. An early 2.4T AWD model did 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds. The sporty R goes like a jackrabbit, a manual model racing to 60 mph in just under 6 seconds in our tests. A 2.4T averaged 21.7 mpg, while manual-shift T5s managed 21.5 mpg in a city/highway mix and 17.9 mpg with performance tests. Gas mileage with a 2.4 T AWD sedan averaged 23.5 mpg. R managed 19.6 mpg. Volvo recommends premium fuel for the turbo engines. Engines are muted at modest rpm, but these inline fives are never as smooth as rivals’ V6s. The T5 grows awfully throaty at full throttle. Wind noise and tire slap are high for this class.

Vehicle structure is satisfyingly solid, but suspensions allow minor road imperfections to be felt more than in most class rivals. That’s especially true in the T5 and R, with their extra-firm damping and thumpy low-profile performance tires. Road manners are confident in all models, with sharp steering, modest body lean, and good grip. The 2.4T AWD feels more secure than a front-drive 2.4T, and more supple than the T5. The T5 and R try hard, but cannot match the moves of rear-drive sport sedans. Brakes are strong and easily modulated, though some drivers consider them touchy in urban driving.

Gauges are well-marked, logical, and nicely lit. On the downside, the radio’s 20 station presets are selected by scrolling with a single rotary dial rather than by individual buttons–a feature not everyone cares for. The dashboard-top navigation screen is difficult to read in daylight, and the system’s controls are on the steering wheel, inaccessible to the passenger. Interior decor is stylish and modern, but some budget-grade plastic panels fall short of Audi/Lexus quality. Comfortable, supportive front seats are wider and softer than the European norm. Leg and head room are outstanding. Rearward visibility is restricted by a high parcel shelf, bulky headrests, and sloped roofline. The nicely shaped rear seat is comfortable for two medium-sized adults, but leg room is very tight if front seats are set more than halfway back. The wide, deep trunk isn’t too tall and has a smallish opening. Cabin storage is adequate.


Model Tested: 2001 Volvo S60 2.4T

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 4

Total: 50


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
107.0 180.2 71.0 56.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.9 21.1 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.9 42.6 33.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2002 S60 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: On Turbo models, the clutch pedal may vibrate due to the hydraulic fluid transmitting pressures. A new hydraulic line with a loop that absorbs the shocks is available. (2001-02)
Exhaust backfire
Description: A squeal from under the car right after driving through a water, slush or snow is caused by the exhaust pipe temporarily warping and touching the drive shaft requiring installation of an extra exhaust hanger. (2001-07)
Exhaust system
Description: A squealing or rubbing noise on AWD models that occurs after going through a puddle is caused by the exhaust pipe temporarily warping and touching the driveshaft. (2003-06)
Fuel pump
Description: The engine may not start if the fuel level is low and the vehicle is parked facing downhill due to design of fuel pump which has been redesigned with an anti-siphon valve. (2001-07)
Oil leak
Description: Oil may leak from the differential vent. There is a replacement vent valve available. (2001)
Steering problems
Description: Power steering assist may be poor on vehicles with speed sensitive steering, but after cycling ignition key, the steering assistance may then be normal requiring a new power steering control module. (2001-09)
Description: Short alternator life due to high heat and humidity is rectified by an upgraded regulator. (2001-02)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may illuminate due to a lean air/fuel condition caused by a cracked rubber elbow in the PVC system. (2001-09)

Recall History

2001 S60
Description: Under certain operating conditions, some cooling fans may overheat, potentially causing heat damage and rare possibility of engine-compartment fire.
2001-02 S60
Description: A dirty throttle housing and/or inefficient software calibration may force the vehicle into limp home mode. Dealers will install the current software upgrade onto the involved vehicles.
2001-02 S60 originally sold in Arizona and Nevada
Description: Due to the combination of fuel quality and climate conditions, the fuel pump may, in certain cases, experience a reduced functionality. The most common symptoms would be fuel odor. Dealers will replace the fuel pump free of charge.
2001-03 S60
Description: On certain passenger cars, the second ISOFIX guide was not installed and, in certain cases, the owner’s manual ISOFIX information is incorrect.
2001-04 S60
Description: For vehicles sold in or registered in the states of: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and the U.S. territories. When exposed to certain environmental conditions (hot climate and temperature cycling) over time and in combination with varying fuel quality, the fuel pump can develop cracks in the fuel pump flange. If the condition occurs vehicle owners may notice fuel smell and/or fuel leak which, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire. Dealers will inspect the fuel pump installed in the vehicle, and if necessary replace the fuel pump with a part of a modified design. This service will be performed free of charge.
2003-04 S60
Description: The fuel pressure sensor located on the left end of the fuel rail may, at times, transmit an incorrect signal regarding the fuel pressure to the engine control module. The check engine light may then illuminate. Dealers will replace the fuel pressure sensor.
2005-06 S60
Description: The label denoting the tire and loading pressure information is incorrect. Dealers will mail the correct labels free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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